Yesterday, I took my daughter to NYC, for a fun mommy-daughter day. We went to the American Girl store for lunch, saw "the" tree, visited Santa at Macy's, and more. Actually, the highlight of the day for me personally (and no, it was not waiting the 2+ hours to see Santa) was going to Hu Kitchen. I pushed my daughter in the stroller all the way from Rockefeller to Union Square, just to go to this place (but she got to enjoy the Union Square holiday market while we were at it)! I can sum up my reaction to Hu Kitchen in two words: JUST GO.
It's healthy, fully Paleo (with AIP options) fast-er food. You can't really call it fast food, because plenty of options were made-to-order, and the prepared options didn't exactly take five minutes to make!! I had their grass-fed burger with soy / dairy free cheese, bacon, avo, with a side of roasted sweet potatoes (OMG so good, better than sweet potato fries you guys, seriously). I also got a side of roasted broccoli and pineapple to share with C, along with chicken strips for her. And I couldn't resist their Crack Bar. That's what it was like, of course - crack - and gone in a few bites flat. Although I wasn't able to sample their juices or smoothies, those also looked totally incredible. Nothing pasteurized, tons of varieties. If I lived in the city, this is where I'd be found, every day (OK, so I'd have to show some love to Spring Bone Kitchen too).
Speaking of crack, these bars pretty much fit that criteria for me too. Hopefully you haven't worn out your peppermint taste buds because these have got it in spades!! I knew I wanted something a bit heartier and more substantial than just a Peppermint Patty knock-off. So these are basically a peppermint patty atop a flaky crust. While you could certainly just make the creamy and carob layers and call it a day, I highly recommend making the complete package.
The crust here features tigernut flour. I love this stuff! It has a nutty, sweet flavor, so less sweetener is needed, plus it works beautifully in conjunction with other gluten free flours. And no, it's not a nut - it's a root veggie, like our friend cassava. Love me some root veggies! It's a beautiful thing and I'm grateful for it, to be able to make that once-in-a-while treat still, without grains.
By the way, "chocolate" is misleading somewhat. These are made with carob powder. You can certainly use cocoa powder instead if it's been re-introduced successfully or if you're eating Paleo, not AIP. I personally have found that, while I miss chocolate, I know I can never go back to the days where I ate it every day. It just doesn't agree with me (and neither does having sweet in my diet every day)! But carob powder, in moderation, suits me just fine!
These will make a great dessert to share with everyone for Christmas. They can even be made into smaller sampler bites, perfect for a party! Enjoy friends. Stay warm and stay close to love, this holiday season.
Yield: 9 large barsAuthor: Alyssa Reaves
Peppermint "Chocolate" Bars
Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: 3 hour Total time: 3 hours 15 mins
1 cup tigernut flour
1/2 cup plus 1 TBSP coconut flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, softened*
1/4 cup honey, softened
1/4 cup coconut manna, softened
Creamy Mint Layer
1/2 cup coconut oil, softened
1/2 cup coconut manna, softened
7 TBSP coconut cream
2 TBSP maple syrup
3-4 drops peppermint essential oil**
1/2 cup coconut oil, softened (NOT melted)
1/4 cup carob powder
3 tsp maple syrup
5 drops peppermint essential oil
Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8 1/2 x 8 1/2 pan and line with parchment paper.***
Cream coconut oil, honey and manna in a food processor (making sure all are softened first). Add all remaining ingredients and pulse just till combined, being careful not to overmix. Pour ingredients into pan and wipe bowl of food processor clean, for using to make layer below.
Bake for 15-20 mins, checking at the 15 min mark. Once it is just lightly browned it is done.
While baking, make creamy mint layer. Add all ingredients to food processor and process till smooth (scraping down sides several times). Put in a bowl and set aside.
When crust is done, allow to sit until nearly cool, about 1 hour. Once cooled, pour creamy mint layer over crust. (Your mint layer may have hardened slightly during this time; you can soften it again by mixing it with a soup spoon that has been warmed under running hot water.) Smooth the creamy layer with a spatula and put in fridge until creamy layer has hardened (~an hour).
Meanwhile, make the carob layer. Soften coconut oil (do not melt it or else it will separate from the carob powder and not blend together well), then add remaining layer ingredients and mix to combine well. Set aside until the middle layer is hardened, then pour atop and smooth with spatula. Return to fridge until completely set, ~1-2 hours.
Remove from fridge, slice into bars and enjoy!! Keeps several days, always refrigerated, and freezes really well, just be sure to wrap individually and store in freezer bag.
* I like to soften everything first before using. Remember to use softened and not melted, as melted the consistency will not hold together the same way.
** It's important to use essential oil, as "extracts" will have alcohol. If you use extract, use 2-3 tsp in middle and top layers, to taste.
*** Although you can go with a slightly smaller pan, it will mean your crust will be much thicker than the middle and top layers. I recommend this pan size to keep the thickness of the layers more consistent.